Character Blogs? Blah.

This guest post is written by Bradley (or Sebastianky) of An Obtrusive Reader. He is one of those rare kinds: an actual blook reader. Here he talks about some of the things that irk him as he reads the web’s fiction.

Character blogs aren't the only possible form of blog fiction.If you keep up with web fiction blogs, I’m sure you’ve run across a little tidbit that’s fast becoming an adage: “Don’t write a traditional story with a beginning, middle, and end – write a blog for a fictional character.”

Pay this no heed.

I am not an author, so I won’t condescend to tell the writers how to write. However, I am an avid reader, especially of web fiction and blooks, and I can tell you what I want to read – and what I want is something engaging. Regardless of your chosen medium, you cannot be a successful writer unless your readers want to keep reading. To a certain extent, then, any author is trying to write a page-turner (page-scroller?).

Does that goal require you to write in any particular way? No. Nor are you limited by your medium; we can look at successful writers from the age of print to prove it. Hemmingway and Cummings, Joyce and Asimov, Poe and Shakespeare – they wrote on many subjects, in many ways, in many formats – short stories, poems, novels, crazy-stream-of-consciousness-novels, plays – but all in the same medium: slabs of dead tree bound together.

Should, then, digital media be somehow more limiting? Ought web writers have to react to traditional media by refusing to write anything resembling a novel? What about serials? They’re nothing new – Charles Dickens was famous for his serials.

What I’m getting at is that format is less important than it’s made out to be. Writing for the net opens up some possibilities that wouldn’t be very practical in print, but it doesn’t restrict you much as an author. Don’t believe me? Check out Dirty Red Kiss – an online novel with a beginning, middle, and end. And it’s excellent. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Better yet, check out Wowio – they’re publishing online serials and webcomics, but the majority of their offerings appear to be public domain and small press books – prose originally written for the print media. And they seem to be doing pretty well.

To sum up, write what you want, write what you like to read, but don’t write what other people tell you to. Go ahead, take advantage of the new things that the internet makes feasable: short fiction, microfiction, fictional blogs, etc.

Just don’t forget that lots of people want to read lots of different things – and there’s plenty of room for everybody on the internet.

Bradley reviews all kinds of online fiction at his blog, An Obtrusive Reader. He reads like a man starved (of books) and in the process has created a wonderful repository of the best fiction the web has to offer.

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Category: Guest Bloggers · Writing Web Fiction